CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Amid an investigation into recent smash-and-grabs from cars in Christiansburg, authorities urge community members to either keep valuables in their trunks or take them with you.

WFXR News’ Rhian Lowndes spoke with one woman whose purse was stolen from her car while she was working out.

Before going inside the gym, Megan Laci locked her car and hid her purse in the backseat where the windows were tinted. When she came out 45 minutes later, though, she discovered that her window was smashed in and her purse was gone.

“I actually noticed my friend’s window smashed and she was panicking, and then I was, like, ‘oh my goodness,’ and I looked at my car and it was also smashed,” said Laci.

The Christiansburg Police Department says thieves broke into parked cars at several fitness centers and gyms around town during the early morning hours on Friday, Aug. 5, smashing windows and taking purses, wallets, and electronics that were left inside.

“This process is very quick as they do not take time to rifle through the persons belongings, they just grab and go,” the department wrote on Facebook. “For that reason we encourage everyone to refrain from leaving valuables in the passenger compartment of your vehicle when going to the gym, shopping or are otherwise parking in public places.”

Authorities say thieves often target SUVs since they don’t have a locking trunk compartment without windows. For that reason, SUV drivers are encouraged to bring their valuables into the gym and leave them inside the facility’s storage lockers.

“Take purses with you,” Laci advised. “It may seem like a hassle, but in the long run, it will save you the inconvenience.”

Meanwhile, police say they’re looking for the person photographed below in connection with the incidents. They were seen cashing checks in Bluefield, West Virginia that were stolen from the smash and grabs. The Nissan in the pictures is believed to be a rental.

If you recognize this person, you are asked to contact the Christiansburg Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division at 540-382-3131, ext. 5301.